European shares extend rally, helped by earnings
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct, hits seven-year high
* Drop in euro seen boosting earnings by 10-13 pct
* European corporate results better than U.S. earnings
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, March 12 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trading on Thursday, shrugging off a dip on Wall Street and extending their sharp gains made in the previous session, helped by forecast-beating results from K+S and Boskalis .
At 0900 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,578.90 points, after surging 1.5 percent on Wednesday. The index hit a fresh seven-year high earlier in the session.
Shares in German potash and salt miner K+S gained 4.5 percent and Dutch marine engineering company Boskalis added 3.1 percent, while French telecoms group Iliad, which pledged to raise operating profit by 10 percent, rose 1.9 percent.
As Europe's earnings season draws to an end, companies have reported a 15.9 percent rise in quarterly profits - the biggest rise in European earnings since mid-2011 and well ahead of a 6.8 percent rise in U.S. quarterly profits - according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, as European firms start to reap the benefits from a lower euro currency.
The euro has fallen by about 25 percent against the dollar over the past year, giving a major boost to European companies as roughly 50 percent of euro zone earnings are coming from outside the region. Continuación...